Ronaldo ‘Jacaré’ Souza, one of the greatest middleweight mixed martial artists of the past decade, announced his retirement at age 41.
Souza, who is originally from Brazil and struggled out of Orlando during the latter part of his career, broke the news to Brazilian media Combate. He retires with a 26-10 professional record, including eight wins by knockout and 14 by submission.
“I’ve fought a lot,” Souza told Combate in Portuguese, according to the ESPN translation. “I retired very early from jiu-jitsu, I think I have fought a lot in MMA and I have no intention of fighting again. It really is over. I am retiring from MMA and am returning to the sport. [Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu] where I made history, the sport that I like too much “.
Souza, a former Strikeforce middleweight champion, is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and a former champion of the grappling of the Abu Dhabi Combat Club World Championship. He fought exclusively in the UFC from 2013 to 2021, with a 9-7 record.
Although he endured a four-game losing streak at the end of his career, Souza has long been considered one of the best middleweights in the world. He was among the title contenders in 2015 and 2017, but never secured a starting shot. He suffered a broken arm in his most recent fight against Andre Muniz in May, which was the final fight of his UFC contract.
During his interview with Combate, Souza left open the possibility of continuing to compete in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but he was adamant in his fighting career.
“I’m going back to training and who knows, maybe I will compete again,” Souza said. “I am driven by new challenges and jiu-jitsu, for me, is becoming a challenge because it is so highly evolved. There are so many new things. It is beautiful to see.”